“Hard water” sounds like a mistake the first time you hear the phrase. “Isn’t water soft?” you might ask, “How can something ‘soft’ be ‘hard’?” Water is considered “hard” when it has high mineral content—commonly magnesium or chalky calcium. It’s called hard water because of those minerals, which can cause build up on shower doors and fixtures. If you do have hard water, you’ve probably already seen that white film appear on your tile walls or your shower head.
Hard water can clog pipes with mineral build-up and prevents the full lathering of soap or shampoo. It also has the tendency to damage appliances, which are mostly designed to work with soft water. If you have difficulty lathering in the shower or getting the soap to rinse from your skin, chances are good that you have hard water.
One quick test to make doubly certain you have hard water before you do anything is to get a clear plastic bottle, fill it halfway with tap water, and then drop in some dish soap. If a thick head of soap forms after you shake the bottle, then you don’t have hard water. On the other hand, if your shaking creates something that looks a little like curdled milk, then you do have hard water.
Never fear though, because there are several good ways to account for hard water. You could purchase a commercially available water softener, turn down your boiler, purchase the proper laundry detergent, or even use white vinegar to remove the scaly build-up. Whatever you decide to do, you can’t simply let the hard water go untreated. Clogs will build up in your pipes and cause damage if you just let the hard water ride.
Do you have hard water? The plumbing experts at Lighten Up are on call to help!